Today’s card – taken from Tarot of Mystical Moments – by Catrin Welz-Stein
Like the more traditional card here we have our protagonist lying horizontally, but not on a tomb, she’s not a knight, or the effigies of a knight, she is, may I suggest, not dead, but a young woman/girl lying, well more cradle, by a crescent moon.
Unlike the knight in some of the more traditional cards, she’s not on solid ground, she is floating somewhere above it all, dreamlike. Behind her are the heavens, and the clouds behind are not as white and fluffy as one could expect. above her to the left is a cold dark night, stars can be seen, to the left at the bottom, it looks like there are also dark clouds gathering.
It looks like it’s snowing, and there she is, almost but not quite naked, sleeping unaware of what is happing. The card has many dream-like qualities.
Her hair tumbling down over the moon, and she is dressed in her underwear, or nightwear, her PJs. She looks like she’s asleep and quite comfortable.
Though I’m not quite sure if that’s the case. While it appears she is not going to fall, or overbalance and that she is trusting that she is held securely, if we look at her right leg that is straight out, rigid her toes pointing as if she is trying to keep still in order not to fall.
Her eyes are closed, though her face is pointing to the heavens. What of the swords? Well as we can see they are no longer the sharp metal pointy type, but 4 white feathers, 3 above her and one appears that she has held it and just let it go.
While the other three are falling from the heavens, the larger one of the four, which is under her, its tip is closer to her, is touching her, its tip is pointing towards her.
Similar to the image of the lily we see in many classical images of the Annunciation, it points to her womb, from where life, and according to Christian tradition, salvation itself comes from. It’s also interesting to see that her clothing like the Virgin’s as seen in many images of the Annunciation, is also blue. Indeed in some Annunciation images – in particular in film, Mary, when visited by the angel was asleep and is in her bedclothes.
The girl on our Four of Swords looks very similar to a pre Raphaelite woman, with long reddish and at the tips almost golden hair.
Hair to the Victorian, the Pre Raphaelites and the Fairy tales they took their inspiration from is a motif of not only of maidenhood, power, sexuality but also of Otherness.
Another example of long flowing locks can be seen in Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais, here we also have a young woman laid on her back her face looking up to the heavens. Though our young woman has her eyes firmly closed and is tight-lipped.
And The Girlhood of Mary by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
What of the Swords? As I have previously mentioned here in this card we have not cold steel but soft down. White feathers are said by some to represent angels, and so like Mary in the annunciation has this sleeping young woman been visited by an angel? Or is she just playing dead, is she scared, refusing to look and see, afraid of what she is being told and/or offered? She’s not wanting to hear what the angel has to say, ignoring him and hoping he and they will go away.
So then after all this what is the card telling us today.
It’s an Annunciation, it telling us to not be afraid, to open our eyes, to see, that despite the dark clouds that surround us, the fear of falling, of being balanced precariously on an illusion (the moon), you /we have been given (or told) something precious if we would just look, listen, see, something which could change our life.
So are you ready, today open your eyes, stop dreaming, stop living unsteadily on illusion and take that which has been offered to you?
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Images and text ©Shullie H Porter 2022 unless otherwise stated.